More work needed on EU novel food catalogue

By Alex McNally

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, Eu

The European Responsible Nutrition Alliance (ERNA) has called for
more work to be done by the European Commission as it draws up the
first EU novel food catalogue, listing approved ingredients from
across member states.

The group said the soon-to-be-published catalogue lacks "clarity" and should include more information from manufactures to help validate the list of novel foods. The novel food catalogue was first discussed by the commission five years ago and exists as an informal draft. The commission has already printed catalogues on vine varieties officially accepted for certifications, agricultural plant species, vegetable species and forest reproductive material. Once published any product on the list can be freely marketed within the EU. ERNA said that manufacturers' data is crucial to the final catalogue and the group also criticized the commission for not consulting stakeholders when compiling the draft. ERNA secretary general Patrick Coppens said: "We are not clear on how this catalogue has been established, how the information has been validated and what criteria have been used to include or exclude substances in this list.​ "The substances listed are not specified for their chemical composition or origin or part of plant, and many descriptions offer no clarity on how the decision was reached. It is bound to raise many more questions and problems for business than create clarity and improve understanding.​" Novel food status applies to food ingredients that have not been used to a significant degree in foodstuffs legally sold on the EU market before May 1997. According to the EU Novel Foods Regulation (EC) 258/97, new foods must be shown to meet three criteria before they can be authorised for sale: they must not be unsafe, their labelling must not be misleading and their nutritional quality must not be inferior to other similar foods that they could replace. Member states have been in charge of deciding on whether to grant approval for novel food status in their own country. But the ERNA warned the catalogue could change the state of play for some members, who may differ on whether an ingredient has had significant history of use. Coppens added: "Some plants in the catalogue have known and acknowledged use in food and food supplements in Member States. It is imperative that the validity of this list is double-checked with data from manufacturers.​" A spokesperson for the European Commission was unavailable for comment as was published.

Related topics: Polyphenols

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